The government of Cameroon, likely fearing a situation similar to the recent uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa, has blocked access to Twitter on SMS.
Cameroon’s president Paul Biya claims that the opposition to Cameroon’s government has been planning “Egypt-like” protests for some time, according to the Foreign Policy blog. He apparently clamped down on mobile Twitter to avoid these type of protests, which were fueled by social media.
The official @twittermobile account noted the suspension of Twitter SMS services on Tuesday:
However, many believe that Biya’s move will only enhance the effect that Twitter and other social media has on Cameroon’s increasingly agitated population.
Dibussi Tande, a Cameroon-based blogger, feels that by blocking Twitter the government has only increased awareness of the political power of this microblogging service. Those who hadn’t heard of Twitter before will become interested, and even if Twitter remains blocked Cameroonians will likely begin to see the power of simple non-Twitter SMS itself.
Blocking access to Twitter and other media didn’t work for the Egyptian government, but the authoritarian governments of countries like China and Iran seem to find success in keeping the social information network at bay. Time will tell exactly how this affects the situation in Cameroon and other countries facing political turmoil.